Transformation offers a new start for those who need it – Pallavi Pinakin

There are times in life when reinvention beckons irresistibly. Perhaps you have undergone financial disaster or faced a personal loss. Maybe a longtime job or relationship has come to an end and left you feeling lost. Or perhaps you are simply craving a major change after realising that you’re stuck in the wrong career, or sorely in need of a different community.

In each of these cases, adaptation and transformation offer the promise of a fresh start and the beginning of a new journey towards fulfilment.

Although one may find it hard to imagine learning new tricks after a certain point, reinvention doesn’t come with an age limit. It’s accessible to anyone who is inspired enough to begin the process – and sufficiently motivated to follow through! Taking a leap of faith can open up a whole new world, spark a fresh zest for life and enable you to become your authentic self.

Reinvention is a long game. Research shows that on average it takes an estimated 66 days for a new habit to become an automatic response. This refers to minor lifestyle changes such as hydrating more frequently or exercising for a short period each day.

Major changes (or even a series of minor ones) will obviously take longer to establish. This is why personal transformation should be viewed through a long-term lens… a slow and steady endeavour spanning several months rather than a quick fix solution.

Here are some practical recommendations to help you reinvent yourself and grow into the life you truly want.

KEEP A JOURNAL Personal growth and meaningful change begin with self-knowledge. The simple act of writing down the way you experience the world and view your place in it allows you to see your life more clearly.

Reflect on the circumstances or thoughts that are driving your desire for transformation; then imagine your ideal life and self in as much detail as possible. Journalising will help you to know yourself better and this is where the journey of reinvention begins.

You could try ‘free writing’ a couple of pages every morning – free of format, forethought and filter. This will allow your authentic thoughts to shine through.

KNOW YOURSELF Map your reinvention around key aspects such as priorities and strengths. Spend some time by yourself and be thoroughly honest about your core values – what actually matters to you – rather than what’s supposed to!

This is the foundation for building a more meaningful and authentic life. It’s also important to be clear about your talents and capabilities so that you can build on them to create future success at the workplace, as well as in your personal life.

EXPLORE A LOT Don’t begin your reinvention journey with a fixed version of your future self. Instead, seize the opportunity to try out new things and explore fresh possibilities. This can range from picking up an unconventional hobby to making new types of friends or volunteering for an unfamiliar role.

Experimenting with alternative versions of yourself will allow you to review what you like – and don’t. Yes, it will definitely be uncomfortable to step out of your comfort zone… but remember, that feeling is a sign of growth! Breaking the mould gets easier every time you do it.

BE COURAGEOUS The idea of reinvention can be overwhelming: ‘How on earth can I possibly try something so different or become a whole other person at this age?’ Fortunately, courage can be built through action. Translate your desired identity into tangible next steps.

Should you want to be a thought leader for example, start by attending one networking event even if it feels scary. Once you’ve taken this step, the next one will come easier – whether it’s writing a knowledge sharing article or speaking at a local business forum.

SET SMART GOALS A great way to facilitate the next step is by setting achievable goals with corresponding deadlines. ‘SMART’ goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.

Breaking down your overall reinvention goal into a series of smaller goals will encourage you to keep moving forward. This is vital to ensure that your dream of reinvention becomes a reality.

SOURCE SUPPORT As you proceed on your reinvention journey, you’ll need a support system of people who can relate to your new goals and cheer you on. If you’re very lucky, your family and friends may be able to fill these roles; but if not, you’ll need to build a new community for yourself.

Widen your circle enough so that it contains at least a few of the following types of people: motivators, reality checkers, mentors, role models and coaches. Creating this commu­nity might mean venturing out of your typical social circle to make new connections – either through in-person groups or social media platforms.